My guess is that many of you reading this having encountered or seen your fair share of comments from "Pro-Gay Christians" (isn't that an oxymoron?) who think your orthodox, traditional stance rooted in unwavering Biblical truth is "archaic" and "outdated" if not also "hateful" and "intolerant" too.
It reminds me of a tweet I saw yesterday from Rev. Jordan Cooper...
Realizing more and more that many who claim the name of Christ worship tolerance as a god rather than the triune God of Scripture.— Jordan Cooper (@JustandSinner) June 27, 2015
Boy, that's an accurate statement for sure, isn't it?
In their quest to go out of their way to make sure they don't offend complete strangers, these types of Christians end up offending their dear brothers and sisters like you and me and, whether they realize it or not, they're also saying something quite profound to the world about what it is they truly believe about the holy and divinely-inspired Word of God they claim fuels their faith.
Sadly, Social Media tools like Twitter and Facebook have become a petri dish of doctrinal error and the greatest perpetrators are other Christians!
So that prompted me to do my own little experiment. I admit, this is hardly a true "scientific study" but it does shed some light on some common human behaviors in this day-and-age and particularly those from self-professing Christians who believe "To Go Along Is To Get Along" is the best practice in a world where there's an "11th Commandment" that is universally known as "Thou Shall Not Offend..."
What's this pseudo- "scientific study" I referred to? I'm talking about my very own impromptu and random "Facebook Study" of sorts.
People have asked me why my family and I eventually made the heartbreaking decision to leave the LCMS church that we have been members of for the past few years. Truth is, we're still "officially" listed as members of that congregation holding out hope that things may change for the better, but things like what I saw today on Social Media make it an easy decision as sad as it is for us to leave friends who have become family.
Unfortunately, the last couple of days have done absolutely nothing to demonstrate that a change of any kind (a.k.a. a return to "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" Jude 1:3) is on the horizon.
Case in point, you'd think that this particular church is completely clueless about the cultural, political, and religious seismic shift that just rocked our nation following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to legalize so-called "Same Sex Marriage" throughout the country on Friday.
I say this because ONLY A SINGLE MEMBER OF THIS CONGREGATION that I could find on Facebook posted, shared, and/or wrote anything even remotely having to do with the impact that such a decision by SCOTUS will have on them, on their faith, on their beloved church, and upon those unrepentant sinners in the world whom they constantly claim to care about.
Imagine that. Just one person.
Now, does that necessarily mean that all the members of this church don't have personal and specific thoughts about what just took place here in the United States? Does that mean that they're not true Christians then? Not at all! That would be absurd.
I'm just surprised that none of them care to share their faith with the rest of the world when each and every one of them have been the most vocal in the past year about our need to be more "intentional" and "Missional" in sharing the Gospel with the world around us.
I'm sure the defense from them would be something to the effect that "Facebook is not the place to do that, because Facebook is not conducive to making disciples or to sharing God's Word with others and so we prefer to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to do that in person and on a one-on-one basis instead, because only then can we ever hope to have a real impact since complete strangers caught up in this kind of sin can see our body language and facial expressions if not also hear the sincerity in the tone of our voice, and then they will know how much we love them."
You can tell I've been through this sort of thing before, huh? My dear friends, IT'S NOT YOU that has the power to convert a lost soul, it's the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God and the Sacraments!
You can share the Gospel in the most loving, sincere, and soft way possible and it still won't matter, because conversion doesn't happen based on how well you communicate the Gospel let alone due to the type of person you are.
Even so, we should be willing (withing our God-given vocations, of course) to confess -- accurately and completely -- what the Bible actually says in times like these without offering our own subjective criticism and/or opinions to it.
To think that WE are somehow the agents of change is not a Lutheran concept, and therefore, it's not a Christian one either! That kind of thinking stinks of all the "Sacramental Entrepreneur" stuff!
I only mention this to make a point and to demonstrate the increasing difficulty my family and I have in having fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ who don't believe any of the same things we do when unity in faith over the issue of homosexuality and their so-called "marriage rights" should be a relatively easy doctrine to agree with.
Besides, I also know of more than a handful of church members who I've talked with just in the past year alone (and long before this Supreme Court ruling) who took a decidedly different perspective on homosexuality and so-called "Gay Marriage" as the one clearly communicated to us by the Lord in the Word of God that we call the Holy Bible.
So I guess it's not that surprising that I discovered that when one prominent member of this aforementioned church shared a beautiful picture of a sailboat on the nearby waters of Lake Erie the other day, some 30+ people (half of which have some connection to this church, the church's school, or both) just couldn't resist clicking Facebook's "Like" button to affirm the beauty of God's creation as portrayed in the stunning photograph.
Yet, try to find those very same people clicking the Facebook "Like" button to affirm the beauty of Biblical truth as it relates to ANYTHING at all having to do with Friday's infamous ruling, and you won't find it anywhere.
I'm not exaggerating either.
As one Christian acquaintance put it, far too many Christians today clearly worship "the god of conflict avoidance" and that's so true and a real shame too. Of course, we've tried to analyze this sinful (yes, "sinful") phenomenon in the past.
Ironically, these are the very same "Missional" Christians who are CONSTANTLY talking about sharing the Gospel with complete strangers through performing good works and coming up with new program-oriented gimmicks that they think will draw unrepentant sinners inside the church's walls.
Maybe that's the answer.
Maybe without even knowing that something called "Sacramental Entrepreneurs" exist, they somehow adhere to a doctrine and practice that is everything the FiveTwo crowd believes, teaches, and confesses.
Maybe they think so little of the Law and the Gospel and the Source of both that they prefer instead to emphasize a "Personal Non-Judgmental, Non-Offensive Relationship" with complete strangers as a kind of "New Sacrament" that they believe can somehow convert sinners into saints when the reality is that they're only loving such sinners into Hell by never "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) to them.
I know, I'm probably being "divisive" and "too harsh" again, aren't I? Actually, I don't think I'm being harsh enough. It just saddens me to see so many Christians I know voluntarily taking themselves out of the national conversation by not broaching the subject by using one of the most powerful public forums available to them.
Seems odd for the "Missional" -minded folks, doesn't it? Then again, maybe not.
Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV) 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel -- 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Are you "seeking the approval of man, or of God?" Be sure to prayerfully consider that question today more than ever.
Astonishingly, these same "Missional" -minded folks also fail to realize the ENORMOUS OPPORTUNITY they've just been given to actually be in the perfect position to give an accurate confession of Law and Gospel in response to the legitimization of a sinful lifestyle if they choose to.
"By normalizing, standardizing, diminishing, and denying sin, no matter what that sin may be, we are essentially denying our need of the Gospel and eroding the very fundamental core of Christianity. As Jesus said, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician.'"
He's right! Now, as previously mentioned, even when Christians take the opportunities God gives them and they proclaim Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind there are no guarantees other than they can know that they were faithful in following God's commands and can take comfort in His promise found in Isaiah 55:11.
Still, those Christians who prefer to kneel before the "Altar of Political Correctness" instead of at the feet of our Lord in response to this subject have no desire to talk about such "offensive" and "unpopular" things as sin and our collective need to repent of sin.
What they fail to understand is that now is the time to share their Christian views (the life-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ) publicly and within their various vocations while they still can.
The fear of man keeps them from doing what they should though (1 Peter 3:15-17).
In a Lutheran layman's terms, this is the tragic reality when Lutherans "Like" sailboats better than Biblical truth just to avoid conflict.
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm experiencing and/or studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!